Mar 5, 2014 7:35 PM by Alex Labat
The Mardi Gras season is over, but for some the holiday ended early because of Tuesday's weather. Bad weather can be bad for business, and here in south Louisiana, Mardi Gras is big business. According to an economic impact study in Lafayette Parish back in 2010, 272,000 people took park in Mardi Gras festivities. 90,000 of those are out-of town visitors. Parade attendance adds up to more than $22 million.
Dreary weather means less people out on the streets celebrating, and at Cajun Field, the cleanup continues after the Mardi Gras festival was shut down because of Tuesday's Weather. Those that worked at the festival are hitting the road, after taking a financial hit. "We typically, for me and my company, 50% of our business comes on Fat Tuesday", says Craig Goforth, just one of the many business owners who use Mardi Gras to get the most out of the purple, green, and gold holiday.
The total amount spent to celebrate Mardi Gras in Lafayette Parish is over $10 million. $4 million of that is direct taxes and over $9 million is overall taxes. "You're hoping that the weather for Rio and the weekend and the large crowds that came in for that maybe offset some of the lack of people and participation that we had because of the weather yesterday", says Ben Berthelot, President of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. He says that while getting official numbers will take time, a busy Mardi Gras weekend might help to balance possible losses.
But with krewes spending nearly $10 million themselves to celebrate Mardi Gras, some say in the end, you've just got to roll with the punches. "Over the years, we've been blessed to be able to continue to provide for the citizens of Lafayette a quality, family friendly Mardi Gras", says Gene Lognion, Vice-President of The Greater Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association.